Looking back on it now, I am bitter at the fact that I had no clue the day before spring break would be my last day at school with my three eighth graders.

Even given the challenge of remote learning, these three girls are ending the year strong and ready to head to their next adventure —high school.

This group of girls were my very first homeroom group at St. Joe’s, and to be honest, I am not ready to let them go.

They’re ready — that I have no doubt about. These students show responsibility and poise in their work that mimics that of a seasoned high schooler, so I know they’ll soar high as they join their new classmates.

As much as I am sure the girls are sick of hearing my lectures and rants, I have some advice for them as they move forward into their high school lives…

Don’t stress about things you cannot control.

There is nothing in this world that chocolate and honesty cannot solve.

Kindness is always the answer. In a world where you can be anything, be kind.

Follow your heart and stay true to yourself even if the mountain to climb is steep.

Positivity can and will beat anything.

Spelling always matters and grammar always counts.

When in doubt, just smile and wave because sometimes that is all you can do when life comes at you.

If you take nothing else from my class, never forget the differences between “they’re,” “their,” and “there,” and please, no matter where your life takes you, don’t put an apostrophe in your last name on your Christmas cards.

I have no doubt that this class of eighth graders will bring with them success and perseverance.

When I think about returning to my classroom next year knowing that this particular group of students will have moved on to high school, I can’t hardly stand it. In fact, I was driving to the school the other day and began crying just thinking about their absence next year.

Among many things, this class has taught me which pants I should never wear again, how to correctly pronounce several words according to the Midwestern speak, how to roast someone, and several VSCO girl slang phrases — can we call those phrases though?

Most of all, they’ve taught me that it’s okay to laugh at myself. I’ve made more mistakes than I can count this year, but I’ve learned that the only thing I can do is laugh and move on. For the past two years, these girls have been a long for the adventure and we’ve shared more laughs than I can count — like that time I pranked one of them with a fake, fuzzy spider on her computer.

The high school is going to be lucky to have these talented, well-rounded kids added to their ranks.

I would have liked to have ended our year with one of my obnoxious dog barking fits to dismiss you from class or throwing things at you from behind my desk or even sharing one last piece of Dove chocolate with out, but since circumstance has us in quarantine, I suppose I will settle with a simple, “Farewell.”

Eighth graders, you have all made large footprints at St. Joseph’s school and you will be missed by everyone so very much!

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